WASHINGTON-After just holding a subcommittee hearing on March 27, including testimony from NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar and other financial services regulators, the House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a mark up for the regulatory relief bill (H.R. 1375) on April 9. "They've always expressed to us that they're serious about moving this legislation," NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Brad Thaler said. He explained that the plan is for the House to finish the bill by the end of April. According to CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn, even with the relatively quick turnaround time, he is not concerned about being able to educate members on the additional issues credit unions are seeking and pointed out that the bill is not new. It was first introduced in 2001, so the key players should be aware of credit unions' concerns. Two important provisions credit union lobbyists are working to add concern secondary capital and bringing credit union member business lending parity with thrift institutions. In his testimony Dollar additionally supported the relaxing of the "reasonable proximity" requirements, as did NAFCU in written testimony. NAFCU also recommended removing "local" from in front of "community" and eliminating the preference for the creation of new credit unions over adding select groups. Thaler said he expects resistance to the prospective secondary capital amendment that Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said he and Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) were planning to reintroduce this session. Even though Dollar assured the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee that low-income credit unions, which are currently permitted to use secondary capital, have never had any trouble with it, resistance may arise over concern for the banking lobby's reaction. "Some concern lies with what would happen with the bankers in the sense of would they end up opposing the bill," Thaler said. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has indicated he is interested in introducing the bill in the Senate. In related news, California Congressman Doug Ose (R) introduced a bill March 27 to allow credit unions to provide money order and check cashing services to anyone in its field of membership. The stand-alone bill (H.R. 1492), which enjoys seven bipartisan cosponsors, is taken from among the provisions included in the regulatory relief legislation. H.R. 1492 has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee. [email protected]

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